I recently watched a Pop Warner football game. The score was 12-6 with 1:05 to play in the first half. Avalon had just score to take the lead and for reasons that escape me onside their third kick-off of the game giving Winter Springs the ball at the Avalon 45. Winter Springs had struggled to move the ball during the half with their only score coming on a long pass.
At this juncture, they could have pplayed quickly, used the clock and tried to score on a short field, or licked their wounds, run the clock and hoped to play better in the second half. They did both and accomplished neither.
On the first play, they set up in tight formation and ran off tackle for a negligible gain. They did not call a time-out and appeared content to run out the clock. With only 19 seconds left, they spread the field and dropped back to pass, but took a sack then called a time-out with five seconds left to run a short screen that even if caught had no chance of producing a score.
Winter Springs got to the half without further damage beyond a prevailing sense of bewilderment at the preceding sequence of events. They kicked-off to start the second half and conceded another score to trail 18-6.
Winter Springs needed to decide at the outset of the possession whether they would attack or run out the half. They did neither which not only negated a chance to score, but created a negative mind-set going into the half. End of the half coaching requires a plan of action to produce the intended result, and mindful that the final events of the half are freshest in the mind of your team when you begin your team talk, it’s important that they are positive, or at least subject to a constructive spin. This is what it means to dictate the game.
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